Shakespeare Ideas

Here is the thing about Shakespeare-it is possible to teach it and enjoy it too!  This is where I dragged my feet, dug my heels in hard and wrinkled my nose like spoiled child.  Alas-I broke from my stranglehold and gave it a try.  I was happy to see that not only could I understand and teach it-but my kids liked it to.

Granted, we probably don't do it like CM taught-but heh, we're still getting exposure to it. 
Puppets for the Midsummer's Night Dream

So here is the idea:  Pick a story and introduce it to your students.  Study it but keep it light and fun. But how?

I chose to visit my pal, Jimmie's Squidoo lenses to get the ball rolling. She offers up excellent ideas and links to start the process, and from there I simply searched the internet for more. Then we did it-we actually did it!   What is wonderful too, is that my teen and 9 yr old both enjoyed it (and so did I) and folks, that was the whole goal of to begin with. Give it a try, you may find it is not so daunting after all!

Good Resources:

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children: Being a Choice Collection from the World's Greatest Classic Writer Wm. ShakespeareThe Children's Shakespeare

DK Readers: Welcome to the Globe: The Story of Shakespeare's Theatre (Level 4: Proficient Readers)William Shakespeare & the Globe (Trophy Picture Books)

pics from


Some more palatable ways to watch Shakespeare-well, OK a puppety version. These are cute and a great intro.

Taming of the Shoe {Shrew}

Or perhaps Hamlet (starring Mel Gibson) tickles your fancy?

or this one to see which is apparently 
Much Ado About Nothing
just in case you are still scratching your head

Our initial attempt was a mini-lesson on A Midsummer's Night Dream.  And I mean MINI.  We have read the story via the Tales of Shakespeare: Told for Children by E. Nesbit. We will also read  the Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb version too. To add to that, my teen and I will acted out a few selected areas of the play (using A Midsummer's Night Dream (written in play form) by Oxford School Shakespeare). I found some pretty coloring pages, and activities too [via that most reliable blogger lady, Jimmie], suitable for both kids/age groups. FYI:  Ambleside Online  has info on this subject too. 

So if you too have been struggling with this whole Shakes business-I suggest starting with the Sesame Street versions, then branching out by utilizing a lot of the ideas found on Jimmie's info page dedicated to Shakespeare.

picture from  Karen's Whimsy

We wrapped the study up by watching a movie from the 1950s-(or there abouts.  OK we tried to watch it. I mean it was totally, almost unbearable, we simply couldn't do it-we turned it off after about 15 mins.-the shrilling Indian boy was the last straw!  IT was just as bad.  You could certainly do a library search or cruise thru Amazon to see if any of their movies seem appealing to you if you choose to add a movie into your study.

Craft/Art Idea

Well, being that we decided to create a couple puppets for this Shakespearian play-figured I should show them "acting" up a bit.  I found these puppets on the Bard Puppet Page, if you'd like to add these to your studies too. We only chose the Princess, Puck and Bottom the Donkey.  I didn't honestly think the kids would be into this activity but they both enjoyed it; and it is fun to be silly with them. 

Little bit of mischievous behavior going on here.  I printed them off on white card stock for durability, then we used color pencils to make em pretty with mini-brads (can be found at scrapbooking stores) to attach them.

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